Resolution Re-Up: How To Get Back in the Game and Finally Achieve Your Most Pressing Goal - Legally Bold

Resolution Re-Up: How To Get Back in the Game and Finally Achieve Your Most Pressing Goal

According to research, 60% of us make NYE resolutions, but only 8% of us end up achieving them. Because of statistics like this, many people don’t even bother making resolutions at all. I know that I’ve fallen into the failed NYE resolution trap more than once, and my most recent failure involved hand lettering.

I’ve always loved great penmanship.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I went to a Catholic school where they continued to teach the virtues of beautiful writing long after the rest of the world stopped caring. So when I started to see all the hand lettering photos and videos online, I was immediately drawn to it.

I took a few courses, bought the notepads and tools, and for a while, I practiced hand lettering every day. Then crickets. Suddenly, I looked up and found that I hadn’t practiced in months. Even though I wanted to get better at the skill, I just couldn’t make myself put in the same level of practice that I did in the beginning.

What is Willpower?

Willpower is the control exerted to do something or restrain an impulse. When it comes to achievement, we are conditioned to believe that if we have enough willpower, we can do anything.  

Want to lose weight? Use Willpower

Want to play the piano?  Use Willpower

Want to gain any skill or get rid of any vice? Get You Some Willpower

If you fail at achieving any of your stated goals (including your NYE resolutions), it’s because you lack the willpower to do so. Failure also means that you are willpower deficit. So you better go find a productivity hack or success program asap.

The Willpower Trap

Guess what? It turns out that all of our beliefs about willpower aren’t true.  Yes, you need some willpower (aka motivation or heroic effort) to make change. But that’s just one small piece of the puzzle. To create lasting change, we have to control all of the sources of influence that guide our behavior long term.

In his TEDx Talk, Al Switzler identifies the 6 forces of influence that control our behavior. Here they are grouped by category:

  • Category 1 is our personal influences. It comprises our motivation (willpower) and our ability (do we know how to do the thing we want to do?);  
  • Category 2 includes our social influences.  These are our supporter and coaches who keep us accountable and encourage us to keep going; and  
  • Category 3 includes our structural influences. Our structural influences include our environment and reward system.

According to Switzler’s research, we must understand, personalize, and control all 6 of these influence to change your behavior long term.

What Does This Mean For Your NYE Resolution?

If you’ve already abandoned your NYE goal, it’s not because you have a willpower problem, it’s because you have a math problem. You didn’t know that, in addition to willpower, you needed to control for the 5 other influences on your behavior.  

Luckily, all hope is not lost.  To get back on the horse and achieve your NYE goals, remember to control for these influences first:

  1. Ability – Have you learn the skills necessary to achieve your goal?
  2. Motivation – Do you still want to achieve the result? Do you have the willpower?
  3. Supporters – Do you have friends cheering you on?  Can you avoid those friends that reinforce old habits?
  4. Coaches – Do you have a coach or mentor to keep you accountable?  (There is a reason that the coaching profession has exploded. Coaches help you get results.)
  5. Environment – Have you created physical space for your success and removed any items that would hinder it? (I’m talking to you chips.
  6. Reward – Our brains love prizes.  What rewards will you give yourself along the way to make sure you stick to your goal?

Add in these additional resources, and you’re sure to have a resolution re-up. You can also check out this post and this one.

Did you like this post? Let me know you take on my NYE re-up strategy below. I’d love to hear from you.